So, Graham, can you start by telling us what the learning and development (L&D) situation looked like before SHINE?
When I started two years ago, these weren’t standard across all Instore outlets. This meant that, while customer care was strong across all our locations, it was dealt with differently everywhere — typically coming down to individual strengths.
And what did you think of SHINE when it first arrived?
My immediate impression was that the SHINE programme is very well thought-through. Every aspect is methodical (i.e. the six pillars). The entire programme is well structured, easy to understand and simple to deliver.
Straightaway I thought — and still think — that a particular strength of the programme is that it doesn’t dictate to team members. Instead, it suggests ways that they can improve and gives them the tools they need to stay motivated and make sure they continually provide great service. What does SHINE mean to your unit in particular?
One of the best things about SHINE is that it empowers staff. Every unit can go at its own speed, rather than all attending a training programme that’s ‘one size fits all’. In small units, like ours, it means that there can even be one-to-one training sessions, which are really helpful for the individuals involved.
Now, the whole team relies on SHINE when they’re dealing with customers. From how we carry ourselves (smile, tone of voice, etc.), to how we deal with specific instances covered in the training — ‘how to deal with a spillage’, for example.
Many of these specific instances are also part of the passport — a document that we use to keep track of the training done on the SHINE programme, and something that staff find empowering because it shares their progress.
The passports and training sessions are particularly useful — they give people the ‘how and why’ behind policies. For example, one of the training sessions outlined that a first impression is made within seven seconds, and this reinforced the importance of greeting customers with a smile and friendly tone.
This helps to get people to think about, and engage with, the programme and its policies. It also gives people a sense of worth, because Compass Group is directly investing in them and their training. And what about your role in it?
SHINE is one of the strongest customer programmes I’ve seen in 27 years in hospitality. But for the programme to work, it’s important to have a manager that’s really enthusiastic about it. The manager explains and leads the programme, and from there, it effectively runs itself.
One of the things that keeps the programme fresh and at the forefront of people’s minds is the eLearning we’ve set up on our intranet — I post weekly updates there as a reminder to everyone about new ways they can keep improving their customer service.
If you had to pick out one thing as the key to SHINE, what would that be?
It’s about the customer journey. SHINE takes employees along the customer journey at the same pace as the customer, which helps the employee to understand the customer’s expectations. For example, from the customer entering the store to leaving won’t just be covered in a ten minute presentation — there will be dedicated training tailored to the customer’s needs at each step.
It’s also important to note that SHINE is totally unscripted, it’s about giving individuals the tools to work to the best of their abilities.
How do you motivate your people to get them engaged with the programme?
To help the team be more engaged with the SHINE programme, there’s a monthly pledge, focusing on a different aspect each time. There might be a pledge to upsell, for example, and the team will discuss how they’ll work together to achieve this. People are also encouraged to think about how they, as individuals, can help to drive the aspect of SHINE that’s being pledged to that month. It’s a good way to keep the programme fresh, and make sure everyone stays on their toes.
It also lets the different teams interpret Instore’s goals in a site-specific way. One of the things I do is ask my team what they’d suggest to achieve the goal, based on their SHINE learnings. It’s a good way to use everyone’s brain power, helping to keep the whole team invested.
What has the response been like in your unit and have you seen any concrete results?
The team has really embraced the programme. There’s been a very positive response. Particularly because we’re a small site, so there’s a fair amount of one-to-one training. It gives a sense of belonging and being valued. The team feel like Compass Group is investing in them and their ability to work to their strengths.
We’ve really held our own in terms of like-for-like sales. These are running from between four and eight per cent, despite us being only three years old.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about the SHINE programme?
Ultimately, SHINE helps us all understand that we’re part of the same team and part of the same journey. The main thing I want to achieve for my team is that they come to work with a smile and they leave work with a smile. And that’s something that SHINE helps to reinforce.